What is the family? The family is considered by most people to be a network of people connected by blood. It is also an intricate system of government with laws in which each member plays a special role and has to uphold the requirements of that role. Rousseau considers the family to be the oldest and only natural form of government. This analogy regards the family as the foundation of all political associations.
By analogy, the ruler is the father and the children are the people. They both follow some of the same basic concepts of life. Certain laws are used to the advantage of the "children" and "people" used in the analogy. Political associations and family have a difference even though one was based on the other.
The difference between each party is in their rewards. This difference fails to show its significance in its relation to the natural form of government. I believe this analogy to be useful and its contentions to be true to a certain extent. The analogy clearly identifies the similarities of political associations and the family.
It states that the family has specific laws that it must follow. Self-preservation is one of the laws that a family follows. This law explains the responsibility a child no longer owes to his father and the responsibility the father no longer owes to his children. It shows how an equal independence is gained between the father and his children.
Children are no longer obligated to rely on their father for support. The father is somewhat cleared of his 2 fatherly duties. The bond between them is not fully severed. The bond is no longer imposed by nature but is simply a matter of choice.
Moreover, the family is still following its basic laws. The rulers of various political associations have rulers who by analogy are the fathers and their people are the children. The people have a need for self-preservation just as children do in families. The government is obligated to take care of its people until a certain age is attained. This allows the people to take care of themselves just like children in a family. In a family, the father is not obligated to help his children when they reach the stage of self-preservation whereas in a government it is obligated to help its people.
Both use their freedom as long as it is to their advantage. The similarities stated above indicate the family's influence in the formation of government. Certain aspects of the natural form of government do not help us to fully understand the foundation of government. The relevance of the rewards that the father in a family and the government receives is not evident. The father receives the love of his children. The government finds satisfaction in commanding others since there is no relation of love to its people.
The analogy states what each party receives for being in charge but it does not explain what this has to do with the formation of government. This information is essential for us to know how different aspects relate to the natural form of government. Sufficient information on the significance of rewards should have been given to make the point clear. Rousseau compares the family to government. He points out that the family is the foundation for government. The father in a family is the ruler in a government and the 3 children are the people.
This comparison indicates the similarities between government and family. His analogy also clarifies the law of self-preservation. This law states that a child who is of age severs the bond between his or her father and him or her. This bond is severed because the child is no longer responsible for following his or her parent's rule. The parent is no longer obligated to be responsible for his child.
It also states that the child can get help only by choice because they are no longer obligated by nature. In a government, the people are guaranteed help. The people can try to sever the bond between them but will eventually have to receive assistance. The government has to allow its people to take care of themselves at a certain age. This allows the people to have a continuous association with its government. Rousseau's analogy has a simple flaw.
It fails to explain the relevance of the comparison of rewards that each party receives. It does not allow me to fully understand the natural form of government. I feel that the family is the oldest and only natural form of government.